Bristol Zoo Gardens

Stingray Pups!


Babies have been born to two new Stingrays which arrived at Bristol Zoo last summer. Nine Ocellated Freshwater Stingray pups were born last week after two new females were introduced to the Zoo’s male stingray last year. The new females, sisters named Catalina & Genevieve, arrived at Bristol Zoo from Weston Seaquarium and have wasted little time in breeding. Catalina has produced six pups and three pups are from Genevieve.

The babies, six females and three males, are around just 12cm (4.7 inches) long and will eventually grow to the size of a car tyre. They have now been moved into a separate, off-show tank to keep them safe from larger predators in the display tank. In the coming months they will be re-homed, once they are bigger and stronger.


Photo credit: Lucy King

Jonny Rudd, assistant curator of the aquarium at Bristol Zoo, said: “I’m really pleased that the new pairings of our stingrays has led to the birth of these pups. Our male, called Gamma, is still relatively young and smaller than the females but that obviously hasn’t had any adverse effects.”

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A Lucky Number: 17 Critically Endangered Iguana Hatchlings

Utila Island iguanas by Adam Davis

A critically endangered species of Iguana has bred at Bristol Zoo Gardens for the very first time. Reptile keepers at Bristol Zoo successfully hatched 17 baby Utila spiny-tailed Iguanas – a species that is listed as critically endangered and once considered to be one of the rarest Iguanas in existence.

The eggs were laid after two young adult Iguanas arrived at the zoo last year as a new breeding pair, to boost numbers of this species in captivity. They were transferred to a temperature-controlled incubator for three months until hatching and then moved into a vivarium on display in the Zoo’s Reptile House.

Tim Skelton, Curator of reptiles and amphibians at Bristol Zoo, said: “I’m thrilled that we have successfully hatched so many Iguanas from the first clutch of eggs laid by our new female. This is an interesting and very valuable species because they are only found on one island, Utila, off the coast of Honduras in Central America.”

He added: “The babies are currently only around 15cm long but will eventually grow to approximately 60cm on a diet of vegetation and small insects.”

Utila Island iguanas by Adam Davis 4

Utila Island iguanas by Adam Davis 5
Photo Credit: Adam Davis

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Go Sid Go! Baby Sloth Thrives at Bristol Zoo

Sid the Baby Sloth at Bristol Gardens 1

Back in June, we brought you the story of Sid the Sloth, who had to be hand-raised round the clock after her mother took ill shortly after birth. Well, the hard work has paid off as Bristol Zoo’s baby Two-Toed Sloth is now nearly four months old and has developed into a strong, healthy and inquisitive youngster, with a particular penchant for green beans. Senior keeper, Karla Tucker, is one of the team of keepers who has raised her. She said: “We are really pleased with Sid’s progress. She is very bright, alert and active, and is now four times the weight she was at birth. “We now feed her seven times a day, between 6am and 8pm, with milk formula and vegetables such as cooked sweet potato and green beans, which she loves. She still goes home with a keeper every night so that we can keep a close eye on her and give her evening feeds.” She added: “It will be a while yet before she goes on show with her parents in Twilight World, as she is still very dependent on us to look after her. She is a fantastic animal and she loves people. It is lovely to have this rare opportunity to hand-rear a baby sloth, although we only hand-rear animals as a last resort.”

Sid Eatin' Greenbeans

Meet Sid, the Not-So-Vicious Baby Sloth


Sidone (Sid for short) is a five week old baby sloth, being cared for round the clock by a team of dedicated keepers at Bristol Zoo. She was born in Twilight World to mother, Light Cap, and weighed around 500g (1.1lbs) at birth. But Light Cap was taken ill shortly after giving birth and had to receive veterinary treatment. After a stay in the Zoo’s on-site veterinary centre, Light Cap made a full recovery and was returned to Twilight World. However, she was no longer producing enough milk to feed her baby and keepers had no choice but to intervene to hand-rear Sid in order to save her. The youngster, who has been named after Sid the sloth in the popular Ice Age movie, is believed to be a girl, but sloths are very difficult to sex. She is being looked after by zoo keepers in a special room behind-the-scenes of Twilight World.



Now five weeks old, she weighs 537g (1.2lbs) and is growing well. But she has needed a lot of care from her keepers, including almost daily checks by the zoo vet, as explained by Bristol Zoo’s Overseer of Mammals, Rob Rouse. He said: “Four keepers have been intensively caring for Sid since she was three days old and we’re thrilled that she is doing so well. She is strong, healthy and very inquisitive, and she loves people.”

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Checking in on Bristol Zoo's Lion Cubs


Last week, photographer Mark Eastment got some great pictures of the Bristol Zoo's Asiatic Lion cubs in their outdoor enclosure. The cubs, born Christmas Eve, are now just over 3 months old and as playful as ever. Asiatic Lions are critically endangered in the wild – with only about 300 remaining in the Gir Forest Sanctuary in Northern India. They were once widespread throughout Northern India and Pakistan, but hunting and habitat destruction has reduced their numbers drastically.





Spritely Little Meerkat Chap from Bristol UK


Last week, Bristol Zoo visitor Mark Eastment got some great photos of a baby Meerkat pup out enjoying the sun with mom. Bristol Zoo Gardens’ new Meerkat exhibit, called Meerkat Lookout, was officially unveiled to the public on February 21st. The state-of-the-art enclosure was opened by 11-year-old Joe Romain, from Brentry, who cut the ribbon after winning a competition run by the Bristol Evening Post to name the new attraction. Builders have been hard at work over the winter months, constructing the meerkats’ new £100,000 home. At 152 square metres in size, it is over three times bigger than the previous enclosure, with space for up to 25 Meerkats.




Photo credits: Mark Eastment

Bristol Zoo's Lion Twins Make Their Public Debut


The twin Asiatic lion cubs born at Bristol Zoo Gardens made their public debut last Friday. The cubs - a boy and a girl - are just 10 weeks old and were born on Christmas eve to first time mum, Shiva, and dad Kamal. Asiatic lions are critically endangered and there are only around 400 left in the wild. Since their birth, the cubs have been monitored in the cubbing den via a CCTV system by Bristol Zoo’s experienced mammal team.


Critically Endangered Cubs at Bristol Gardens

Lion cubs at Bristol Zoo. Credit Bristol Zoo Gardens 4

Born Christmas Eve, twin little Asiatic Lion cubs have just begun to emerge at Bristol Zoo Gardens. The 10 week old cubs, one male and one female, are quite shy and spend most of their days enjoying quiet time in the den or hiding in the undergrowth of their outdoor enclosure. However, Assistant Curator of Mammals, Mel Bacon, reports that “Both cubs are fit, healthy and strong and have been suckling well, and Shiva is proving to be an excellent first-time mother. The cubs have recently started to eat meat and are getting more adventurous, exploring their enclosure." Asiatic lions are critically endangered and there are only around 400 left in the wild.  Two thousand years ago they once roamed the whole of the Middle East. More recently they were widespread throughout northern India and Pakistan, but their numbers have been drastically reduced by hunting and habitat destruction.

Ferocious Lion Cub at Bristol Zoo. Credit Shaun Thompson 2

Lion cubs at Bristol Zoo. Credit Bristol Zoo Gardens 1Photo credits: Photos 1 and 3 Bristol Zoo Gardens. Photo 2 Shaun Thompson

To help protect the Asiatic lion from extinction, Bristol Zoo Gardens is participating in an internationally co-ordinated conservation breeding programme. There are fewer than 100 Asiatic lions in captivity throughout the world and it is important to ensure that all lions are pure bred and that pairs are not closely related to one another. Bristol Zoo’s cubs will eventually be introduced to new, un-related, animals as part of the breeding programme.

This is the first time Bristol Zoo has bred cubs in 10 years - previous cubs were born in 2001 and 1998.

Endangered Baby Tapir Arrives at Bristol Zoo


There is a new addition to Bristol Zoo’s Brazilian Tapir family. A tiny baby calf will join parents Tamang and Denzil and big sister Tip Tap. The three week old Brazilian Tapir calf has been sexed as male and is the seventh born to the Zoo’s current adult Tapirs. The calf currently has a distinct spotted and striped coat of light brown fur that is similar in all young Tapir species and provides ideal camouflage in their native forest habitat. However, this coloration will slowly disappear between six and nine months of age to be replaced with an overall coloring of dark, chocolate brown. Emily Pugh, senior mammal keeper at Bristol Zoo Gardens, said: “The calf is strong and full of life and can be seen exploring his enclosure with his mother.” Emily added: “He is very inquisitive, always learning and discovering, but likes to stay close to mum, Tamang.”


Photo credits: Peter Budd/Bristol Zoo Gardens

Currently the size of a small dog, the little calf will grow up to be the size of a Shetland pony, reaching his full adult size and weight of anything between 150-300 kg (330-660lbs) by the age of fourteen months. The birth of the calf is a significant contribution to the conservation of Brazilian tapirs, which are currently listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Threatened with extinction from extensive hunting and deforestation, the breeding programme in which Bristol Zoo Gardens is involved helps raise awareness of the threats facing tapirs in the wild.

England's Meerkats Show Home Team Pride

World Cup fever has spread to Bristol Zoo Gardens where the meerkats have spent the week playing with miniature soccer balls. Meerkats are inquisitive animals and footballs provide the perfect enrichment toy to play with. Keepers at Bristol Zoo are keen to show their support for the England team and are hoping that a win today will be ‘simples’.



Photo Credits: Bristol Zoo and Gardens

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